Senators and Representatives have voted upon a state budget that will present us with challenges in this next year for important community grants, children with special health care needs, medical care and prescriptions for individuals with disabilities and their families.
It is now up to the Governor and his team to make decisions on cuts that amount to about $57 million within the Division of Developmental Disabilities budget. Now the ball is in the Governor’s court and that is where our advocacy will now be directed.
The only change of significance in the budget that was passed last night was the language added to every state institution’s budget line, for instance:
“The sum of $25,525,800, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Human Services for costs associated with the operation of Jacksonville State Operated Developmental Center or the costs associated with services for the transition of State Operated Developmental Centers residents to alternative community settings.”
In my opinion, this wording gives the Governor the authority to use funds budgeted for the operation of state institutions for transition purposes. How liberallly/conservatively the Governor interprets transition expenses will really determine the funding of community services in the new fiscal year.
My direct communications with the Governor’s office continue to be his strong support of his rebalancing initiative. I expect Jacksonville and Murray to close in the new fiscal year.
Here are the votes on the Department of Human Services budget. As I said above, this wording gives the Governor the authority to rebalance, so a “yes” vote on the budget doesn’t necessarily mean your legislator(s) support funding state institutions. However, I would recommend you ask them their rationale for voting “yes” or “no” on the DHS budget so they know you are watching their actions in the Capitol! In fact the voting was very much along party lines, meaning Democrats voted for the budget and Republicans voted against the budget.
Representative Crespo, a member of the House Appropriation Human Services, has stated thatRep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, said Republicans told him they would not support a budget that did not keep all state facilities open. , “Republicans told him, they would not support a budget that did not keep all state facilities open.”